What to feed your rabbit and what not to

A healthy feed is essential for the overall health and growth of your pet rabbit. The main question however is what to feed your rabbit? A  balanced diet comprises mostly hay, fewer vegetables, plants, and a limited amount of pellets is always recommended.

Rabbits require grass and hay for their digestive systems to function properly. So offering plenty of fresh hay and grass is essential. Since bunnies are herbivores, leafy greens such as Brussels Sprouts, clover, and broccoli are ideal feeds as we shall find out in this article.

 

what to feed a rabbit ( hay)

How many meals should your rabbit eat per day?

 

I recommend a fixed feeding timeframe of at least twice per day, although bunnies can also survive with one meal per day. However, it isn’t advisable since it can negatively affect their overall health over time. Lastly, ensure that your pet has access to fresh water at all times.

 

The daily average quantity of pellets your rabbit needs

 

A bunny that weighs between 6 to 10 pounds should consume pellets that are one-quarter of a cup. If your bunny is less than five pounds, I usually recommend feeding them with pellets one-eighth of a cup. However, if your pet bunny weighs over 10 pounds then a quarter of a cup is sufficient.

 

 What is the standard feed for rabbits?

 

The basic feed for bunnies should comprise mostly of green feeds such as leafy vegetables, grass, and weeds. Alternatively, you can also feed them with root crops such as turnips, beets, and sweet potatoes. When it comes to cereal grains, wheat, barley, oats, corn, sorghum, and rye are a good variety.

 

The different types of human food ideal for rabbits

 

Although your bunny’s diet should comprise mainly of clean water and fresh hay, adding some human foodstuff is also a good idea. Below are some of the human foods that are low in sugar and acid at the same time, rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

  • Fruit

Apples, bananas, raspberries, and strawberries are some of the fruits that I highly recommend feeding your bunny. However, it’s worth mentioning that since they contain a high sugar content, feed your pet moderately to avoid any health-related issues. Avoid any acidic fruits such as oranges which can cause harm to your pet’s digestive system. Remove any pips from fruits that can choke your pet when ingested or swallowed whole.

  • Vegetables

Asparagus, cucumbers, curly kale, romaine lettuce, and celery are usually a healthy diet for your pet bunny. Although rabbits can eat nearly all vegetables, Brussels Sprouts, beetroot and cabbage should be limited since they usually cause gas. On the other hand, keep the carrots to a minimum since they are high in sugar.

  • Herbs

Since bunnies have strong taste buds, it’s advisable giving them moderate amounts of herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, or mint leaves.

What’s the right feed for my rabbit in my backyard?

 

I usually recommend feeds with high nutrients such as:

  • raspberry leaves
  • carrot tops
  • lavender
  • sow thistles
  • nettles
  • dandelion greens
  • lettuce

On the other hand, growing a vegetable garden is also ideal especially if you prefer the food rabbits eat to be fresh.

Harmful feeds for your rabbit

Compared to other mammals bunnies have a very unique digestive system. Rabbits are herbivores by nature and they also have a digestive system that processes fiber faster, a process known as hindgut fermentation.

It’s worth mentioning that bunnies usually have a sensitive digestive system, hence some human food ingestion can cause stomach upsets or worst-case scenarios, end up being lethal to your pets. Below are some of the harmful feeds that you should avoid giving your rabbits at all costs.

  • Walnuts

Although walnuts are a healthy snack for humans, it’s usually unhealthy for bunnies. The high-fat content in them usually causes indigestion problems for rabbits.

  • Cereal

Avoid rabbit feeds cereals such as muesli, cornflakes, or granola as this can cause tummy and toothaches.

  • High carb food

Do not feed your rabbits high-carb feeds such as bread, crackers, and pasta since it can easily cause bloating. Any food containing artificial sweeteners is also a no-no since it negatively affects your rabbit’s health when ingested. I usually recommend feeding your pet fresh cucumbers instead.

  • Chocolate

Although chocolate is a tasty treat for most of us, it’s a big no for rabbits, since it contains caffeine and theobromine which are harmful to your pet’s health. In other words, the higher the aforementioned substances, the riskier it is for your rabbit’s health. Some of the common symptoms associated with chocolate include diarrhea, restlessness, high temperature, trembling, and panting.

  • Avocado

Avocadoes contain a chemical known as persin that is usually harmful to your rabbits when ingested. It often causes breathing problems and heart conditions, hence the reason why you should always avoid feeding your rabbits avocado.

  • Yogurt

Another treat to avoid giving your rabbit is yogurt or milk. These products usually contain a toxic substance known as enterotoxaemia which often leads to the growth of harmful bacteria in your rabbit’s system.

  • Iceberg lettuce

This particular type of leave contains lactucarium which is another harmful feed, especially when consumed in large quantities. Instead of feeding your rabbits with iceberg lettuce, go for the darker leafier romaine which is rich in fiber and also quite healthy for them.

  • Rhubarb

Rhubarb is another harmful plant that you shouldn’t feed your rabbits. When ingested, they often cause your rabbits to become lethargic and dehydrated. In extreme circumstances, ingesting rhubarb leads to a loss of appetite for your pets.

  •  Seeds or pips

Although many fruits are among the variety that rabbits eat, it’s worth pointing out that those containing seeds or pips can cause great harm to your pets. It’s therefore wise to remove all seeds or pips beforehand. This is because they usually contain cyanide traces which can be harmful when ingested. Some of the fruits you should remove pips before feeding your rabbit include apples, peach, apricot, and plum.

  • Hamster feed

Rabbits and hamsters belong to the Rodentia order, however; their nutritional requirements are quite different. I usually don’t recommend feeding your bunny hamster food. Although it’s usually cost-effective to do so, rabbits typically require feeds that are rich in fiber such as high-quality hay, pellets, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Although hamster feed isn’t harmful, it lacks the proper nutritional value needed for your bunnies.

Related articles:

 

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Rabbit pellets: info and facts

 

What fruits can rabbits eat?

 

The best rabbit hay diet

 

How many carrots can a rabbit eat in a day?

 

What vegetables can baby rabbits eat?

 

What time of day should I feed my rabbit?

 

A complete rabbit diet guide: What you need to know

 

What to feed a sick rabbit

 

Can rabbits eat cooked vegetables?

 

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